ArDOT explains local bridge inspection process after HWY 141 bridge closes

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT
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Beech Grove, Ark. (KAIT) - The bridge on Highway 141 in Beech Grove is closed. The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) found that it may be unsafe during a routine inspection on Tuesday.

ArDOT says that every bridge in northeast Arkansas goes through frequent routine inspections.

District 10 has 1,700 bridges. Even small bridges, which are at least 20 feet, get checked by three bridge inspection teams, with each team being made up of two people.

Bridges in good condition are inspected once every two years.

Weight capacity is also a factor. Bridges that carry three tons and under are inspected once a year.

Bridges that are lowering and are in a deteriorating condition, like on Highway 141, are inspected every six months.

District 10 engineer Brad Smithee says that those with bridge anxiety after the I-40 shutdown in Memphis can rest assured they are keeping bridges safe.

“They’re trying to look and find every problem, with every structure out there,” Smithee said. “Our analysis people, our engineering staff, they’re looking at these and rating these bridges to the safest ways that they can and still allow people to use them for all public needs that they can.”

Today’s findings on the Highway 141 bridge are being presented to an analysis team, and there’s no estimated time on when the bridge will reopen.

Smithee says it’s on a 2022 replacement plan, but they are looking to see if they can speed up the process.

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